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She says I'm too sensitive, and honestly I often act moody when disappointed


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Creating a new account since I forgot my old one from years ago.


I could use some insight to some conflicts I have been dealing with in my relationship. I have the tendency to become passive-aggressive and occasionally pout/sulk when something happens that I think is embarrassing or undesirable to me. I know, it's a very immature response to things and I'm trying to correct that. Unfortunately, it comes out only with people I'm close to, and I've used the silent treatment before even though it is very damaging. I also tend to question if things are alright too much instead of trusting that it will be fine. I subconsciously look for reassurance about the relationship, but my girlfriend is not the type to dole out the sympathies or be very empathetic (she is Japanese if that matters).


My girlfriend has repeatedly said I'm too sensitive due to my reactions to small inconveniences and misunderstandings. In turn, she thinks it is due to her actions that I become upset, which is rarely the case. I have some insecurity that I'm not sure where the origin is, my family was very loving and supportive when I was a kid. She said I can be difficult and that she never had to deal with this kind of behavior in past relationships. I have had issues in the past too where I would sulk when something did not work out or if I was disappointed.


Here's an example: We are napping on the couch before she has to go home. After we wake, we hug and I lift her up but accidentally hurt her because her breasts are sore. She winces in pain and I stand off a little because I do not want to make it worse. I become embarrassed that I caused this situation, so I begin to think way too much about it. I motion with my hand that I don't know what to do and even though she is fine, I further feel bad about it since I cannot help in the moment. I begin to pout because I want to show her that I am sorry, but it only creates negative feeling between us. I try to snap out of it but she has already caught on and my pouting upsets her (because she thinks she has done something wrong). The awkward feeling continues until I drop her off and we leave on that note.


How do I stop being so sensitive and just act like a calm and easy-going person? I'm afraid I'm going to drive her away with my unbalanced behavior. She mentioned that I get upset at something nearly every time we see each other, we end up discussing the reason but don't always reach a conclusion, and that it was not normal to have that happen so often. I'm the type that likes to talk things out, but many times too much discussion about the relationship and our communication problems just makes it awkward and diminishes intimacy, like a revolving door that gets nowhere. How do I increase the confidence and levity in my relationship like we had at the start?


Thank you for any insight.

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Have you ever tried counseling? You could be suffering from depression. Some people with depression overreact to things that other people would let slide. Sometimes people will attend group behavior sessions to work on better ways of responding to stress. You haven't been able to solve your problems yourself, so I'd recommend this. It might take a while to get an appointment. In the meantime, look for some self help books.

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I agree, counselling might help. It sounds as though you need to learn to express your emotions appropriately; for example, pouting is not a very effective way of telling someone you're sorry!


Your family may well have been loving and supportive, but were sulking and emotional withdrawal used as a way of controlling family members? Was communication open and direct, or were you supposed to guess what other people wanted? Were you made to feel guilty? If people felt angry, was it expressed, or were you one of those families where "nobody gets angry"?


Andrina could well be right, in that suppression of any emotion can lead to depression... with all the problems that can bring.


You are already very well placed to deal with the problems - with the appropriate support - because you recognise that it's within you. That takes a great deal of honesty, and most people who are passive-aggressive will deny it to the hilt and blame other people; ironically this ensures that the situation is never dealt with effectively.


Good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

Andrina, Hare, thank you for the advice. I have done counseling in the past while in school for various reasons, but no diagnosis or major issues. Looking back, my mom used to pout or sulk whenever something didn't go as planned, and would guilt trip me if I misbehaved occasionally. She wasn't abusive but it was not how my dad handled conflict, who was more magnanimous and thought things out. Communication was open for the most part. When family members got angry, everyone would be aware of it and tense for a little while.


In some ways, I am a very quiet person and deal with emotions inwardly, sometimes sulking as a way for someone to initiate a conversation. This is probably counterproductive but it's what I did as a kid. Sometimes I cannot express what my needs are to a loved one and I get frustrated that they don't know what's wrong other than that I'm in a bad mood. It's something I want to work on.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Maybe give counseling another try to address this issue specifically. You have bad coping skills and its going to damage your adult relationships if allowed to continue.


Your example story of the sore breasts - there is no reason for that have played out like that. A simple "oh! I'm sorry, are you ok?" is a great way to handle that. It seems like if you perceive that you have erred in some way it sends you into a negative spiral where you immediately feel awful then passive aggressively pout/sulk in an attempt to gain reassurance from the other person, even if it was the other person who was hurt in the first place. It's making mountains from molehills and this must be exhausting for you and your loved ones.


Work with a counselor to develop better skills in communicating your feelings and dealing with accidents and conflict.

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Thanks for the reply, I'll try to give counseling another shot but it's difficult for me due to my work (I'm on a ship for much of the year) and long waits for an appointment. We actually broke up a few weeks ago due to issues relating to me being gone for so long (of the 6 months we were dating just over 2 months were in person) and her not seeing a future with me since I will be leaving the country in a few months to change duty stations. I knew it was coming because we had our differences even beyond the pouting, that was one example of maybe two or three instances where I overreacted. It was enough to alter her feelings for me and after that she was consistently distant to me until I left to sea again. I'm confused because I never use this kind of behavior with my friends and acquaintances of course, so why would I subconsciously use it with the people I'm closest to?

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